Consumer Well-Being / Publication Abstract

In search of well-being: Factors influencing the movement toward and away from maladaptive consumption

Jul 23, 2020

Wendy Attaya Boland, Ingrid M. Martin, Marlys J. Mason

Consumer Well-Being
Health & Nutrition


Common consumption behaviors may become harmful to consumers. Maladaptive consumption is the result of an increase in frequency or amount of everyday, normal consumption (adaptive) behaviors, which may cause significant harm to consumers and society. The authors explore maladaptive behavior and investigate how important insights about maladaptive consumption may lie at the intersection of harm. Consequently, the discussion focuses on how marketers and policymakers, through their strategic approach, can both encourage and mitigate maladaptive behavior. Understanding the transition from adaptive to maladaptive behaviors, and the return to adaptive consumption patterns, is critical for marketers, consumer advocates, and policy researchers, focused on dampening overconsumption with its corresponding harm. A discussion of the implications of maladaptive consumption on consumer health and well-being sets the foundation for rethinking marketing practice and public policy. Finally, a set of research propositions are offered for future research.

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